How To Cope With Teenagers That Use Drugs ?
For some reason, a lot of kind and sympathetic people who never faced the problem of a child’s or teenager's drug addiction say the same thing: “It's all his (her) fault!” To say that a child is guilty is the same as accusing an asthmatic of causing his disease. Drug addiction is a disease and, like in any disease, there is an element of chance.
Among 16-year-olds, 80 out of 100 had taken drugs at least once. 20 of the 80 become addicted and only 2 out of 20 will be able to overcome it. Stress, suggestibility and inquisitiveness tempt children to try drugs.
It’s easy to tell a child that drugs are evil and that it is simply dangerous for his health. But the truth of the matter is that such speeches are useless and, in reality, provide no results. A child is in a terrible position – he can become drug dependent before he realizes that he is in mortal danger. And when he is invited by friends, he agrees to try drugs not only because he is curious, but for some reasons that are very important to him. He wants to be with them and be like them.
What next? Should you explain to him that there are much more important values? Should you tell him about feelings that are more intense than drug highs? Between the ages of eleven and thirteen, a child might already be asked to try drugs. But at this age, he is just learning to make his own decisions, to consider the consequences of his actions and the actions of other people and, on the whole, to compare the values of everything he faces in his life. He may try drugs simply to compare their value, to draw conclusions that he thinks others have already drawn.
Besides, refusing to try drugs means loneliness for him (or so he thinks). And he is simply not able to be alone. He must constantly interact with others, especially his peers.
What can we do? Should we show him the results of his actions and decisions? Yes. This is the only way, through constant dialogue, to make him come to the conclusion that taking drugs is not worth doing at all. Not just because he will die, but because he will become sick and won't be able to go on a hike or to play football.
You need to be considered an authority by your child in order to explain things to him. Gaining prestige is not an easy task, but your prestige should be greater than that of his friends.
Practically all experts in drug addiction who work with teenagers say that when a teenager is ill and needs treatment, it means that the entire family should be treated. But not for drug dependence -- from some detachment that the child feels. We love them and we are ready to do everything for them, with the exception of devoting time to them. Constant demonstrations of love and attention will always be the main preventive measures to drug addiction. Even when you’re tired, try to devote some time to your child in the evening -- simply hugging and kissing him and asking him about his day. Even if your teenager is obstinate, he is a child and that means he needs some tactile interaction -- hugging or simply ruffling his hair, even if he backs off and smoothes his hair back down. That doesn't mean that he doesn't love you. A child loves his parents by definition. This is biology. Even if a mother hits her child, he’ll love her nonetheless. But this kind of closeness can weaken from inattention. It is very important for any child to hear that you love him and not only that you’re working and earning money for him. And the more often, the better. It is absolutely necessary to listen to everything your child says because he needs you to. He needs to talk to someone about his life. It’s better if you’re the person that he trusts. Then, if he is in trouble, you will be the first one to know about it and you will be able to do something without waiting until it’s too late. If you constantly check his pockets, you will lose prestige and he won't trust you anymore.
Is it difficult? Well, it’s better than waiting for the government to jail all the wholesale drug merchants and smalltime dealers.
The strong in spirit
What does a teenager’s moral fiber depend on?
Though a teenager spends a lot of time with his friends, they may not have a really strong impact on him. If he has had an important emotional connection with a significant adult in his life, then his environment won't influence him as much.
Moreover, teenagers who resist the negative influences of their surroundings have some qualities incommon:
- low rates of psychlogical suggestibility;
- they have (subconsciously or instinctively) their own constructive
means with which to overcome stress and conflict situations. They can
communicate with other people without feeling tense. They are confident,
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